Thursday, November 24, 2005

Credit to Eggs: Yes, Folks, There IS a Tax Increase

No Runny did a bunch of Excel-enhanced math and finds that BagManJim Doyle (D-WEAC/Tribes) has caused all kinds of tax increases, and those increases exceed the cost-of-living numbers consistently:

So, let's take a look at the levy since the 2002-2003 school year (the last year before Craps began his budget games). Due in large part to that shorting, the total statewide school property tax levy went up 5.50% between 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, and 7.22% between 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. So, doing some fancy math and taking this year's gimmick tax "cut" into account, the school tax levy went up an annual average of 4.02%. For those interested in viewing the numbers themselves, you can either head to DPI's Tax Levy page and do the math, or download my worksheet (a 125 KB Excel file). Any takers on next year's school tax levy INCREASE being less than 4%?

(Although Eggs has problems betting on NFL contests, his offer to wager is only for suckers...)


steveegg said...

I wouldn't call 82-73-5 against the line a problem :-)

Anonymous said...

Steveegg does not understand how schools are financed. The Governor shifted more aid to the schools which basically restored the "average" 2/3rd funding promised under Thompson. Property taxes can still rise due to a number of factors in the school funding formula. The state mandates a significant portion of the cost increase for schools and that is more than is allowed in revenue increase if all things stay the same. (# of kids, special ed, and property values).

The problem with school funding is that it is so complicated and boring that few people take the time to understand it. I guess that includes steveegg.

Dad29 said...

Although you make good points Anony, the fact remains that school taxes have gone UP despite BagManJim's yappaflappa.

IOW, the Guv lied (again.)

The State-aid/school-tax formula should be revised to wit: State sends $ZERO dollars/kid to school districts. Yeah, that's radical.

But it will produce what we lowlife taxpayers call accountability.

steveegg said...

Let's see if I can educate you, anon (if you're the same anon that posted over at my blog, you already got the gist of what is to follow). Between the mid-90s and 2003, the state of Wisconsin paid for 2/3rds of all school costs. In 2003, Jim "Craps" Doyle decided that he needed to pay off other campaign contributors, so he cut that to 61% while doing NOTHING to encourage the school boards or WEAC to cut back. Ergo, because gubmint types don't know the meaning of the phrase "fiscal restraint" and don't practice it to any degree beyond what is forced upon them, those taxes went up higher than expected.

Fast-forward to 2005. Craps really needed to pay off WEAC (something he didn't do in his first budget) and find a gimmick to do a 1-year "reduction" in school property taxes. Of course, he wasn't bold enough to do this when he proposed his budget (indeed, his budget had all sorts of revenue-cap looseners to allow even higher tax increases), and because he's beholden to WEAC, he didn't dare tell the school boards to live within their means. Instead, he cobbled together a "creative" (read, probably unconstitutional) use or two of his partial veto pen to raid other state funds and "deliver" a 1-year freeze by restoring something he unilaterally cut in 2003; the 2/3rds funding.

It isn't coincidence that, considering property taxes are the #1 issue in the governor's race, he pulled the back end of this stunt with the last property tax bill people will see before the 2006 election. Because of how he restored that 2/3rds funding, he left a heck of a mess on how to keep it going beyond this year and into the 2007-09 budget. Of course, that is his intention. If he wins, he'll simply play the shell game again, and hope the voters once again ignore the 4-year average increase (at the max allowed) and the spike in their 2009 and 2010 taxes. If he loses, he'll leave an Ament-like hole in the budget for either Scott Walker or Mark Green.

So, any suckers want to take the under 4.05% increase in the school districts' portion of the property tax levy between the 2005 and 2006 levies? Come on; I'm even giving you 0.03 percentage points.

Oh, and I agree with dad29; kill the state aid.

Anonymous said...

Kill the state aid??? Do you somehow think the state will give you that money back in some way??

However, I concur with the thought on eliminating state aid but I bet John Gard and all those guys who represent districts that receive well more than the 2/3rds average funding would object. State aid is bad because it reduces the pressure to lower costs by consolidation.

On school taxes, I believe my total property tax bill will go down this year. The biggest taxer is collecting 4% less than last year and the tax base has grown by more than 2%. That is a 6 to 7% swing. My municipality and county has not managed to screw up Doyle's plan.

I will concede Steveegg's point on 07 taxes. The freeze is a one year anomaly created by a shift of funds and the prior Doyle budget.

Doyle had little choice: Either cut funds to schools by a phenomenal amount, line item veto and raise property taxes, or shift money from an overfunded transportation slush fund favored by Republicans (can you say pay-to-play and automatic tax increase)

Thanks for the good points comments DAD29. I am a conservative too but I don't care for the partisan games played in Madison by both sides. The Republicans submitted a budget that was loaded to force Doyle to increase taxes. They failed because Doyle did things using the Tommy Thompson veto method.

State Aid to Zero$ sounds good to me. Then we would all get what we are paying for and not have the overtaxed homeowners of SouthEastern Wisconsin paying for schools in Peshtigo. (Again that complicated state aid formula)